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Puyallup finalizes landfill fee increase

Post by Sara Schilling / The News Tribune on Jan. 12, 2011 at 12:19 am with 8 Comments »
January 12, 2011 12:19 am

Puyallup residents will see an increase in their utility bills to cover a legal settlement, but for most customers the fee hike won’t be as large as once planned.

And they’ll pay less in total for the settlement.

The City Council voted 5-2 on Tuesday to finalize an ordinance raising the landfill fees starting in March. Councilmen John Knutsen and Rick Hansen voted against; they’ve advocated for other options.

The fees will be used to pay down debt from bonds the city will issue to cover the upfront cost of the roughly $2 million settlement, which stems from a civil lawsuit brought by the owners of two apartment complexes. They alleged a former city landfill contaminated their property.

The council last year agreed to settle the suit.

Under the plan approved Tuesday, residential customers will pay $1.19 more a month in landfill fees, while the monthly amount for commercial containers will rise by $13.91.

The council in split votes in early December gave initial approval to a plan that would have raised the landfill fees $1.60 a month across the board in order to pay the debt on 20-year bonds.

Each customer would have paid $384 in additional landfill fees in total over the life of the bonds, according to information from city staff.

The new plan essentially was finalized Tuesday; it calls for issuing 10-year bonds and making a payment of $450,000 from city coffers. That means the debt will be paid off sooner and residential customers, who make up the bulk of ratepayers, will pay at least $200 less overall.

City staff members recommended the plan after presenting several options, including borrowing from the utility fund. They said doing that would put off needed capital projects.

“We have to listen to our staff,” said Deputy Mayor Tami Brouillet. She was joined by Mayor Kathy Turner and council members Nicole Martineau, Kent Boyle and Don Malloy in voting to finalize the fee ordinance.

The city hasn’t operated landfills for years, but the landfill fees are used to cover costs still associated with the long-closed sites. The existing fees of $1.25 for residential customers and $14.67 for commercial containers aren’t enough to pay the settlement, city staffers have said.

The bond sale is scheduled for Jan. 18.

The settlement payment is due at the end of the month.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. Why does the counsel have to listen to the staff?
    Aren’t they in the superior position?

  2. puyallup_leon says:

    Don’t we vote in November? We need a Bill that stops these guys from dipping into our pockets untill we vote on it. And to the guy with the apartments: You knew where you were building, take responsability for your actions.

  3. Whatever1214 says:

    So many people who did not live here when Puyallup had a land fill are expected to pay for a landfill that does no longer exists?

  4. Turner tries to deflect blame on decisions decades ago. The bad decision was made in 2004 when building permits were awarded to the apartment developers. Who was the Mayor at the time pushing for increased tax reveues to pay for new city hall etc ?, why, none other than our wonderful current Mayor, Kathy Turner. The gift that keeps on giving !

  5. citizendoe says:

    Brouillett finally opened her mouth and said “we have to listen to our staff” and “we have to listen to our bond council”, but the reason she has such an easy time voting for every new tax, aka. fee, is she never listens to the citizens. ( district 2 is getting shafted by her lack of representation, but then again, I think she should keep her mouth closed because she’s a lousy representative)

    Malloy did what he always does, he talks in support of the citizens (which is all BS) and votes the other way. He sat right there and expressed how he did not want the burden of this mistake to be on the citizens and future generations, got his applause, and voted against the citizens. He told us how he supported Initiative and Referendum and proceeded to vote against that too. Whats next term limits….. Ha! guaranteed.

    If you haven’t watch the meeting or weren’t there, you don’t see the body language. The fix was in from the moment Turner asked the city manager for his recommendation, which is the same behavior at every meeting. What’s the city manager gonna say, “Yes make it tough on me, take it from my budget, we screwed up issuing the permits, don’t raise the citizens rates”. Turner always asks for the recommendation then Malloy, Brouillet, and Martineau make the motion, and the citizens get shafted again. Think I’m kidding watch the meetings.

    Council doesn’t need to listen to staff they need to hold them accountable for their screw ups and stop placing the burden on the citizens to clean up mess after mess. … .News flash there’s already another one on the way.

  6. vrumvrum says:

    Actually Puyallup_leon, I read the lawsuit and the developer had hired an engineering firm to check that out before they purchased the property. The engineering firm apparently dropped the ball and settled with the property owner before the city did. According to court docs, the city was well aware of hazardous gases being at WAY over acceptable levels and was supposed to have mitigated the problem. The city staff never disclosed the problem to the developer while the developer was working with them to get the SEPA process through. It looks like the city manager was more interested in getting some permit fees for the city while he was building the new city hall.

  7. Once agin, the homesteaders who sweat and plow the fields got the shaft. Come to the meeting next Tuesday and see who shafts who as they hopefully discuss and decide on TERM LIMITS. Bhaaaa!

    Hee Haw!

  8. PuyallupGuy says:

    Yet another reason that I’m glad I live outside the city limits. When will the constant demanding of our hard earned money by government end?

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